Cruise lines halt all Russia stops in response to Ukraine invasion

Norwegian, Viking, MSC and Royal Caribbean have all suspended calls at Russian ports

Helen Coffey
Thursday 03 March 2022 14:50 GMT
Cruise lines will halt visits to St Petersburg
Cruise lines will halt visits to St Petersburg (Getty Images)

Numerous cruise lines have pulled all stops in Russia from their itineraries following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Viking has stopping selling Russian sailings for the rest of 2022.

“We are deeply opposed to the unfolding conflict in Ukraine and are heartbroken for all the people who are impacted,” the company said in a statement.

“On 24 February we cancelled all 2022 departures of our Ukraine river itinerary. On 1 March we made the decision to cease all operations in Russia in 2022.

“Therefore, we have cancelled all 2022 departures of our Russia river itineraries – and will replace scheduled stops in Russia for all 2022 ocean itineraries.”

MSC Cruises has also suspended calls by four of its ships to St Petersburg, citing “security concerns”.

MSC Preziosa, MSC Grandiosa, MSC Poesia and MSC Virtuosa will all halt scheduled stops at the Russian city this summer.

“Since the onset of the current events the line has been in touch with alternative ports – such as Stockholm, Helsinki and Tallinn – to confirm calls for the four vessels and it will communicate the exact details for each individual sailing as soon as possible to travel agents and any customers affected by the new arrangements,” the line said.

Royal Caribbean and sister line Celebrity Cruises also both removed St Petersburg from summer itineraries.

A statement from Royal Caribbean International said: “The safety of our guests and crew is always our top priority. We are continuously monitoring events taking place around the world, including the situation in Ukraine.

“With the recent events, we have made the decision to cancel our visits to St Petersburg, Russia, on all summer 2022 itineraries.

“We have planned alternative ports and will communicate itinerary changes in the next few days to our guests and travel partners.”

Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the parent company that owns Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Oceania Cruises, has done likewise, striking St Petersburg from its sailings.

In a normal summer, about 50 Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings sailings would drop anchor in the popular Russian city.

“Due to the escalated situation between Russia and Ukraine we have made the decision to modify the course of your upcoming voyage and will be removing St Petersburg, Russia from the itinerary,” the cruise line wrote in a letter to guests.

“We are currently working to confirm a revised itinerary and will provide updates once we have more information.”

CEO Frank Del Rio said the move was “disappointing” because St Petersburg “is one of the crown jewels of the Scandinavia itineraries.”

“But certainly, there are alternatives,” he added.

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